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VisualDesign

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Your vision, realized.

Design is more than art for art's sake. It grabs attention, tells a story, persuades, and inspires action. Here, you'll have the opportunity to learn how to make design work hard.

Program Areas

Graphic & Web Design Program

Graphic & Web Design

Prepare to become a graphic designer with interactive skills or a web developer with design skills. You can learn the basics and then choose a graphic design or web design concentration.

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Illustration

Sara Aberle

Graphic & Web Design , 2013

The Art Institute of Washington — Dulles, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

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Use your artistic vision and technical skills to share your ideas via painting, drawing, and design for markets like publishing, advertising, and the web.

Meet Our Faculty

  • Katie Crain

    Audio Production

    "I want students to understand the dedication it takes to succeed. They can do it if they're willing to put in the work."

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    Katie Crain

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I can tell you exactly. 11:03 pm, September 12, 2000, at a concert in Rockville, Illinois. In that instant, with the world buzzing around me, I realized that this was what I wanted to do. Among the record reps, the roadies, the musicians and the fans, a magnificent light bulb went on. An immense world of possibility was illuminated. I had to become part of the music industry.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I share real-world scenarios from my experience promoting concerts and shows, whether it’s reviewing a contract from a concert or an email I received from a client. I always try to put everything into context, drawing on examples from my career.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    One of my favorite assignments is the Career Challenge. I challenge students to contact an industry professional and engage in some sort of interaction to help them build networking skills early. I've had students reach their favorite artists—and even receive offers for internships.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    I also teach a course where students craft a business plan that takes eight weeks to complete. It's not easy, but the students often thank me at the end of the course because now they have the tools to start their own business one day..

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from different programs work together?

    The industry I work in certainly does not exist in a bubble—and neither can education. Music, now more than ever, is a cross-platform medium. In almost every class I teach, there’s some group work, whether in assignments or large-scale presentations. Teamwork is critical to success beyond the classroom.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    I want my students to know that to have a career in this industry they have to work hard and be passionate. It's a 24/7 career, and their success is directly correlated to the hours they invest. Nothing will be handed to them. I want students to understand the dedication it takes to succeed. They can do it if they’re willing to put in the work.

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  • Mark Stanley

    Culinary Arts

    "Never stop learning."

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    Mark Stanley

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    When I turned 30, I realized my commercial real estate career was unrewarding. A friend from New Orleans was in the midst of a culinary apprenticeship in New York City. We got together to celebrate my birthday, and talking about his experiences spurred me to sign up for a chef training program when I got back to Chicago. I’ve never looked back.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    Having worked in the hospitality industry for nearly 30 years, I’ve seen and experienced a great deal. I devote half of my lectures to relating my personal experiences—and those of my friends in the industry—and using current examples to reinforce the concepts I'm teaching.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In Facilities Design and Management, I expand the class project to concentrate on developing a restaurant that meets the standards of the Green Restaurant Association, an area I've been focused on for most of my teaching career. Understanding the importance of incorporating sustainable practices is critical to the future of not just our industry, but the planet.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Never stop learning. Our discipline is so broad and continually evolving, if you don't stay abreast of the changing landscape, you won’t reach your full potential.

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  • Michael Howe

    Michael Howe

    Culinary Arts

    "There's a lot more to being a chef than just cooking."

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    Michael Howe

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    There really wasn’t any “a-ha” moment, but I always liked to cook. I went to culinary school and found I had a natural skill and a real interest, and 33 years later I’ve never wanted to do anything else.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    Along with being a full-time chef instructor, I own and operate three successful restaurants. I always relate what happens in class to the culinary industry. I explain how the skills students are developing—setting up their stations and organizing their work area, breaking down a chicken, making a mother sauce, or developing and costing a menu—relate to the real world. I stress that the work habits they form now are the foundation on which they’ll build their careers.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    Students need to understand that there’s a lot more to being a chef than just cooking. I tell my students the same thing my instructors told me: It takes years to become a chef, but only minutes to dress like one. My students prepare daily prep lists and timelines so they can plan and organize their day…just like in the real world.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    The Capstone class is a great example of cross-program collaboration. I encourage students to seek out Interior Design and Graphic Design students to assist, guide, tutor, and mentor them in those areas. Not only does it help them with their project, it’s a good lesson in working with others while keeping a single vision in mind.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Treat everything like it was your own. Think of that chicken, that carrot, that pot of stock, that stove, that oven like it was yours—like you reached into your pocket and paid for it yourself. Treat them all with respect. Get the most out of everything you can. Then, when the day comes that it is your money, you’ll have the mindset to be successful.

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  • Vassi Vasevski

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Believe in yourself and don't stop dreaming, no matter how long it takes and what sacrifices it requires."

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    Vassi Vasevski

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    For me, that moment was when I was accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria after passing a series of very challenging exams (on my fourth attempt).

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I always rely on my professional experience as a practicing artist for more than 30 years. I tell stories from the real world, such as getting rejections from galleries, meeting tough deadlines, and facing tasks that put my talents and experience to the test.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    Students learn to respect my experience over the course of the term. I think the fact that I came from another part of the world and have accomplished a thing or two over the years is an inspiring story in itself.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Collaboration between students from different programs is always beneficial. It’s an opportunity to see something from a different perspective, as well to be able to add your unique professional input to the learning process.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Love wholeheartedly what you’re doing. Believe in yourself and don't stop dreaming, no matter how long it takes and what sacrifices it requires.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I’m really happy to have been a part of the The Illinois Institute of Art—Chicago family for over a decade now.

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